Police are to be armed with 10,000 Taser stun guns as part of a drive to tackle violent crime, it was reported yesterday.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is expected to announce plans tomorrow to train front-line response officers in all 43 police forces in England and Wales to fire Tasers at violent suspects.
Currently, the stun guns are used by small units of firearms officers.
But Ms Smith told The Sunday Times that £8 million will be made available to equip up to 30,000 police response officers across the country with the new 50,000-volt electric guns.
She said: "I am proud that we have one of the few police services around the world that do not regularly carry firearms and I want to keep it that way.
"But every day the police put themselves in danger to protect us, the public. They deserve our support, so I want to give the police the tools they tell me they need to confront dangerous people. That is why I am giving the police 10,000 Tasers to ensure that officers across the country benefit from this form of defence."
The move was welcomed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which said trials showed in the majority of cases Tasers helped police resolve incidents without resorting to a weapon.
Derek Talbot, ACPO spokesman on Tasers and assistant chief constable of Northamptonshire Police, told the paper: "This reinforces the value of Taser as a useful tool to make the public and officers safer and to resolve potentially violent situations effectively and rapidly.
"The conclusions of this trial provide further evidence that Taser is a proportionate, low risk means of resolving incidents where the public or officers face severe violence or the threat of such violence which cannot safely be dealt with by other means," he said.Reuse content